With the National Football League (NFL) draft just winding up this past weekend, I couldn’t help but think about the similarities between football player and customer development.
There were 256 players selected in the 2014 NFL Draft. These are the top tier, the best of the best that made it through. But think about what it took to get those players to this level. From pee wee leagues to school teams to college and finally the NFL—it’s a journey that doesn’t happen automatically.
It’s the same with your customers. Even your immediate stand-out “stars,” for the most part, won’t be apparent overnight and will need nurturing from you to turn them into “your best customers.”
When you do take customers through this “nurturing journey,” your business will experience explosive growth and profits.
To get a better understanding, let’s look at the progression of an NFL player.
Most, if not all, start out in a pee wee football league. At first, it’s to try out football—maybe see if they like it, learn the fundamentals and decide if they will continue to play.
By middle school a few will be weeded out when they try out for their school team. Some may decide that football is not for them and will take an entirely different path altogether. However for those that want to keep playing, for the most part, there will be a place for them, even if it’s just practicing with the team and riding the bench.
By high school, you have a variety of player levels—from the guy riding the bench hoping to get in the game to the hometown football hero who is the star player of the team.
To get to the college level, players need to capture the attention of the college coach and prove they have what it takes to move up to the next level.
At the college level players must play well enough to make an impression on at least one team in the NFL. Another way for players to get noticed is through events such as Pro Day, where eligible players from the college work out for NFL scouts.
Now let’s translate this process to your customers.
Prospects and new customers are like your pee wee league. They are just getting their feet wet—showing interest in your product or service. Here’s where you encourage leads to sign up to receive your content so you can try and move them to the next level.
This next level is sort of like middle school. They are learning more about you and how to use your product and service. Here you must nurture them to move them up.
Some may have purchased from you at this point. Some may fall off here and decide your product or service isn’t for them. Both are okay. However you want to make sure they haven’t fallen off too soon. Perhaps they need more nurturing. Or similar to a growing young man, maybe they need more time to develop. Deliver the information they need and give them time to develop by approaching them in different ways to make sure you don’t cut someone loose prematurely.
Once you’ve turned browsers into buyers, you have moved your prospects into the high school phase. This is where you want to really deliver the right type of content, products and service that will encourage them to keep going and become even better customers.
Your customers that take your upsells and move into your ongoing programs, these are similar to your college level. They match what you are looking for in an ideal customer. Here you want to have a long-term strategy to keep them growing.
Your very top tier customers, the ones you’ve developed the best, are similar to the players that enter the NFL draft. At this point you’ve made these customers into your superstar customers. They are the ones that buy everything you offer, come to all of your events, and refer you to others.
Similar to football, your prospects and customers need cultivating to move them up through the progressive stages of a customer. Once you have all the core categories of customer development working in full harmony together in your business, you’ll finally be able to move every customer you acquire through the progressive stages and experience explosive growth.
NOTE: During our upcoming GKIC Fast Implementation Bootcamp (FREE to GKIC members), I’ll take you through the seven core stages of customer development that take you from prospect to ‘superstar’ customer status and show you exactly how to get these stages working in harmony. Plus I’ll reveal the behind the scenes and step-by-step forensic analysis of “blockbuster” GKIC campaigns that take our customers through each of these stages so you can model your own business to do the same.
For more information or to register for our next Fast Implementation Bootcamp visit: http://gkic.com/bootcamp